Home sales in Lexington grew 8 percent in June, but sales continued to fall elsewhere in the region, and the median sales prices for homes continued to dip slightly.
The news came as part of reports issued Monday by the Lexington-Bluegrass Association of Realtors.
In Fayette County, the number of sales that closed in June rose from 443 a year ago to 479. For the year to date, however, sales are down 20 percent.
Tim Haymaker, owner of Haymaker Development Co., attributed much of the spike to federal and state programs for first-time home buyers, including the much-discussed $8,000 federal tax credit.
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"What we're seeing is people are very particular when they're making a real estate transaction," he said, noting that much of the gains appeared to be in existing homes, whose sellers are more willing to take lower prices.
June was a strong pick-up to a quarter that was otherwise sluggish. Total sales in April and May were down 23.3 percent.
For the quarter, sales were down 12.5 percent.
The median sales prices for homes continued to dip slightly but nowhere near numbers seen in the harder-hit portions of the country. In June, the median price in Lexington was $154,900, down 3.8 percent.
Homes in parts of the country hit hardest by the housing crisis have seen their values fall at least 20 percent.
"While 2009 is a different economic climate than 2008, we are seeing increases in pending sales, stable median sales prices and decreasing days on market," LBAR President Gale Fulton said in a statement. "This again shows that the Central Kentucky real estate market is not experiencing the crisis made so public by the national media."
But Haymaker said trends are still "horrific" for homebuilders like him who deal in houses priced between $350,000 and $850,000.
"If you're a builder out there, you're just not selling your houses," said Haymaker, whose residential business has sold one lot this year compared to three in 2008.
The boost in Fayette County didn't extend to the region. In a 14-county area in Central Kentucky, 1,904 single-family home sales closed in the second quarter. That's down 11 percent from a year ago, when 2,141 home sales closed. However, the percentage decrease is much less than a year earlier. In the second quarter of 2008, home sales dropped 17.9 percent year over year.
Haymaker said he thinks the more sluggish sales in counties outside Fayette result from buyers' fears about having to pay a high price to commute to work if they relocate.
"People are really concerned about the price of gasoline," he said.
Still, June saw a jump in existing home sales with 772, up from 710 in that month in 2008. It was the first time since September 2008 that the number of sales closed exceeded those in the previous year.
In other positive trends across the region, the average days on market for residential homes fell slightly: 85 days in May and 82 days in June. In 2008, the averages were 89 days in May and 84 days in June.
The median sales price for homes in the region dipped in each of the three months in the quarter compared to a year earlier.
In June, though, it was down 1.9 percent from a year ago to $147,000.